There are many reasons to practice martial arts and many benefits for those who do. Many people start their martial arts study as a way of improving their physical conditioning - a fun alternative to the gym. But martial arts training doesn't only provide physical benefits; there are many mental benefits also.
Physical benefits of martial arts training include:
Improved reflexes and co-ordination
Improved muscle tone
Increased strength and stamina
Cardiovascular workouts (heart and lungs)
Greatly improved balance
Ability to defend yourself
Efficiency of movement
The physical conditioning of martial arts counteracts physical deterioration, increases flexibility, relieves stress, and helps counter weight problems. All vital muscle groups are strengthened and toned, including the heart.
Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that people in their 40's and 50's who regularly practice martial arts demonstrate astounding levels of physical fitness in comparison to people the same age who don't exercise at all. The study subjects who practiced martial arts had 12% less body fat, were able to do twice as many sit-ups, had enhanced flexibility and leg strength, demonstrated a stronger immune system and showed greatly improved balance.
Mental benefits of martial arts training include:
Stress reduction / relaxation
Heightened sence of awareness / alertness
Confidence in confrontation situaltions
A positive attitude toward life through self-confidence and self-discipline
Improved self-esteem and personal outlook
Respect for yourself and those around you
Cameradery of a club atmosphere
The mental benefits of martial arts come from a number of aspects of the training. The improved physical fitness and body tone can often lead directly to better self-esteem. The training and continuous learning will also exercise the mind as well as the body. Goals, both personal and those set by the syllabus/instructor can be worked toward and achieved, enabling a more confident, possitive 'Can Do' attitude.
Strength through relaxation
Martial arts training will allow you to experience a profound, life-changing truth; strength comes from relaxation. Martial arts will teach you what it means to move from your center, to know your body and how to use it efficiently. Martial Arts will put you in touch with the true source of your energy, which is as much about your mind, self-knowledge and discipline as it is about your muscles and physical prowess.
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